Where am I going wrong?

(51 Posts)
Cupcakemummy85 Thu 08-Nov-12 20:22:29

I have posted about a hundred posts about sleeping, eating, tantrums and I am still no closer to cracking it. I feel so hopeless and out of my depth. All I face from my dh and MIL is "she's not herself is she?! How very strange!" So frustrating. My dd is 16 months, doesn't walk (gave up after a few steps and i have no energy to carry her as im pregnant), makes mealtimes a battle ground, has started screaming at bath time, throws tantrums if I stop reading her book after her the 20th time. Why am I doing wrong? I am doing everything that the lovely mums of mumsnet advised me to do ie stay calm, don't react at mealtimes, give her affection when she kicks off etc and after today I feel as though I have hit a wall. I reduced the nap times to one nap after the advise on here and now she seems to tired to eat lunch and too tired to eat dinner. Once she was in bed I threw my hands in the air and sobbed. What am I doing wrong? Please help or tell me this is normal. I feel like such a crap mum and I'm trying so much to make my little girl happy.

Goldmandra Thu 08-Nov-12 20:51:18

OK, I haven't seen your other threads so coming to this without any prior knowledge.

Are you saying that your DD is a determined little girl who is winning all of the battles she's starting and you're pregnant and too exhausted to challenge her?

Or are you saying you don't think your DD is doing what is expected at her age and you feel that she may have some type of undiagnosed additional need which is stopping her making progress?

You don't sound like crap mum. You sound to me like a mum who puts a lot of time and energy into parenting and seeing any results. That would make anyone feel down.

Bubblenut Thu 08-Nov-12 20:56:29

When she has a tantrum - walk away. When she stops screaming you can talk to her.

It will be hard to start with and she will probably scream for hours. But it seems like your daughter has learnt that she runs the place - not you

MrsGrieves Thu 08-Nov-12 21:17:40

16 months is very little, still a baby, I wouldn't be trying to manipulate sleep tbh, for me (and this is just imo) every time I tried to manipulate sleep it seemed to backfire, I just let them nap when they dropped.

All you can do with the walking is try to encourage her, unless you think something may be physiologically wrong? My ds1 didn't walk until 18 months, I don't think 16 months is especially worrying.

My ds2 also went through a bath hating phase, we just minimised baths, we would still plonk him in, just as little as we could get away with, he eventually got over it.

Mealtimes, again just keep trying, there is no magic formula for getting them to eat it's just perseverance.

It does sound normal to me, there is little point in ignoring tantrums, or discipline at this age, they are literally big babies. Just do what is easiest at the time/get through each day would be my advice.

If she screams at bathtimes, then give her a wash, obviously baths need to happen, but not every day, she totally will get over this, maybe bathe with her, or try and distract her whilst in there and make it fun, bubble blowing/toys etc.

Mealtimes, do you try to feed her or does she do it herself?

Realise that all these phases do pass (to be replaced by new ones), and enjoy her good giggle filled moments.

bevelino Thu 08-Nov-12 21:20:25

Is your dd otherwise healthy and at 16 months how does she get from A to B? If dd is in perfect health perhaps it would help if you were consistent in your handling of her behavior and take charge as she sounds like she is ruling you. I am not criticising and there is nothing you have described that can't be turned around.

NigellaEllaElla Thu 08-Nov-12 21:23:45

You sound like a fab mum who is doing everything they possibly can but unfortunately not getting the results you would like.

It does sound a bit like your little girl may be used to ruling the roost a bit. She also sounds quite strong willed, having not read your previous posts I am sorry I don't know all the back ground info.

My little girl has always slept and eaten well (I know this doesn't help! Bear with me...) but she is strong willed and even now (she is 3) she still tries to get away with it. Whilst I do think we shouldn't try to quash her personality I do give her very firm boundaries of what is acceptable. We do joke that she is the diva in the house and she is dramatic and its her way or no way etc etc but if she starts to try and push it too much I nip it in the bud quickly and she soon learnt just how far she can push.

I'll try to give some examples -
She might request something food wise then when it's made she will wail that she doesn't want it. So I tell her in a calm but very firm tone that I made her exactly what she wanted, I am not making anything else so she eats that or has nothing. (I am not always this strict, just if she is having a moment!)

She'll throw herself down on the floor as though the world is coming to an end. I step over her (and sometimes hum a little tune to myself!) and ignore it and as soon as she shows signs of calming down I'll ask her if she wants a cuddle.

I feel a bit like I'm stating the obvious above but I have two boys who have never been anything like this and are placid and soft and easy going, my girl is a little madam!

When your DD cries at bath time I would talk to her in a fairly level tone about what I am doing (just rinsing your hair then we'll do your teeth) carry on regardless of her screams, don't try to console, I'm sure she'll learn that it has to happen and I find talking through what to expect always helps.

If she kicks off at meal times calmly get her out of her seat and move the food away. You will pick up any signs of her suddenly thinking actually I would like that and can react accordingly.

Do you have her in a really good routine? Like, pretty much to the minute? Just thinking if you've recently moved naps etc that might not be helping with the unsettledness. Make a plan and stick to it like clock work, I know how hard this is but I really believe in it and it has always worked with my 3, it's not forever, just whilst you're trying to establish what she should expect and when, once she's settled and you feel a bit more in control you can let it slip a little, at the end of the day you still have to get on with life.

Feel like I've rambled forever but can tell how distressed you are.

One last thing, and I am crap at this, when she has her big nap have a sleep, I know it's the only time you can get stuff done etc BUT that really doesn't matter AND again it's not forever, just whilst you're getting her sorted before your new baby comes and if you are rested then you will have so much more patience etc.

Good luck and let us know how it all goes.

MrsGrieves Thu 08-Nov-12 21:25:15

Please also ignore bubblenut, ignoring a 16 month old child because they were crying and distressed (having a tantrum) would be shit.

Sometimes when an older child is acting out they are better off ignored/calming down alone I suppose (depends on the child), but ime a cuddle and a bit of empathy does tend to stop crying better in a younger child/minor strop.

MrsGrieves Thu 08-Nov-12 21:33:40

Jesus christ I am sounding like an ap parent on this thread shock Wtf, I'm quite disturbed by the whole ruling the roost thing at 16 months, she will in no way be intentionally antagonistic. She is just a very small child getting used to life.

Surely it's so much easier to work with children at this age, they are totally irrational, trying to explain or impose rational rules in a my way or the naughty step way is pointless. Softly softly catchy monkey.

Sheebarahma Thu 08-Nov-12 21:34:01

Hi! It's just that ur daughter rules you.She very well knows that you comply to her demands. Now you should take charge. Make a schedule for her right from the time she gets up till she sleeps and be consistent with the routine,I know it will be very difficult but believe me after 7 days she will be used to it. Introduce time out and ignore her tantrums. When she does something good praise her and be positive. Kids love to be praised. Involve her in your daily activity like asking her to fetch something for you and then praising her that she is mamas big girl and has started walking beautifully. Give her a lot of activities so that she is busy and has no time for tantrums. Well the eating part is difficult with some kids but the issue here is her ruling over you.

5madthings Thu 08-Nov-12 21:34:43

at 16mths i think a cuddle and or distraction is the way to go with tantrums, she is too little for time out etc.

with regards to mealtimes do you eat with her, if so just sit and eat yourself, offer her her food but if she doesnt eat it, just take it away after say 20-30 mins, dont make a fuss or try and cajole her to eat, she wont starve herself. just make sure she is offered what you are having and that any snacks inbetween meals (she will need snacks at this age its little and often) are healthy. also dont put too much on her plate, seriously little portions as big ones can be overwhelming for little ones, if she finishes it you can then offer her more. if she eats nicely, tries something you can say well done at the end, but dont make a big fuss, and just ignore fussy behaviour at mealtimes.

re naps, maybe she still needs two naps or if not a second nap, maybe some quiet time before lunch, even if its sitting and watching tv shock

the walking will come, she is little and will get there, 16mths isnt that late tbh, does she crawl? so she can follow you around like that? in the house and for outside get an all in one rainsuit type thing so she can crawl around in the garden etc, it wont hurt her to get a bit wet or dirty smile

you arent crap, you are tired and pregnant and she sounds like a fairly normal 16mth old, i wonder if she is going through a developmental stage as that can make them difficult? mine are always grumpy and miserable before they learn something new.

give yourself a break, if you need to leave her in her cot for 5 mins whilst you have a cup of tea, or somewhere safe like in the pushchair or a child proof room.

NigellaEllaElla Thu 08-Nov-12 21:35:39

We're all going to have different ideas about what is acceptable and what isn't all we can do is say what's worked for us (rather than make nasty comments about how others have done it "wrong")

I can honestly say my boys never tantrum'd and my girls were nipped in the bud, even at an early age, by ignoring them and letting her know a tantrum didn't achieve anything.

Some people might disagree with that method, and that's fine, I'm confident my children are happy and ultimately it worked and I had virtually tantrum free children, it won't work for everyone.

5madthings Thu 08-Nov-12 21:36:03

she is far too little for time out, they arent tantrums its fustrations, i am guessing she doesnt talk much yet? htis is her way of communicating, giving her a cuddle and distracting her isnt giving in to her or teaching her that a tantrum will get her what she wants.

NigellaEllaElla Thu 08-Nov-12 21:37:49

Oh and I don't use timeout till age 2. That's more cause I think I read somewhere it doesn't work before then and to be honest I don't think it would have with mine, don't think they could have grasped concept any younger.

JollyJack Thu 08-Nov-12 21:44:42

19mo Ds is a happy wee chap most of the time but has occasional moments. I've tried various things
Sometimes I explain the situation to him: "I know it looks very exciting in the hall, but it's very dangerous in there just now so we're keeping this door closed"
Sometimes I distract him: "Ooo, Lightning McQueen is going down the ramp, whee"
And sometimes it works to leave him be for a few minutes until he calms a little before I can try either of the other strategies. If he's screaming so loud that he can't hear or see me then explaining or distracting are not possible options.

DS is absolutely not a cuddly child so offering a cuddle would not do any good.

MrsGrieves Thu 08-Nov-12 21:48:24

I totally agree Nigella, children and family dynamics are all so so different. Your method and your children sound great!

manitz Thu 08-Nov-12 21:53:18

just sounds like she is tired too. if you have changed naps to one a day what time does she have lunch? I found sometimes 11.30 was better rather than 12 then napping early as they would move from a morning sleep and an afternoon sleep to just one. My ds seems to be dropping his morning nap and naturally likes to go to sleep at 11.30 which really stuffs up mealtime (as someone else said, i tend to follow their lead re sleep and then rearrange round them rather than impose sleeps).

It's knackering having a toddler when you are pregnant. ds isn't walking either at 13m and ds1 walked at 17m. can't wait till he walks! but luckily Im not going to be pg ever again.

crazygracieuk Thu 08-Nov-12 21:56:40

I wouldn't use time out on such a little one either.
In my opinion tantrums at that age can be hunger, thirst, boredom or her feeling overwhelmed with anger/jealousy/frustration/other intense feelings that she can't cope.
I would try to distract or let the child tantrum somewhere safe (not in the bath for example) at 15m. When she's older you can explain in detail or punish but probably not yet. Reinforce rules with positive language " Kind hands" is better than "No hitting" (Your toddler probably uses no enough without you contributing too) and be consistent. If it was ok to climb on the sofa yesterday, she'll be confused if she's told off for doing it today etc.

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 08-Nov-12 22:09:10

The toddler thing just got me like a ton of bricks when she turned one as he was never like this before. She was a great eater, happy an very content, never a great napper though.
I used to nap her at about half ten ad then lunch and then try and put her down in the afternoon, not always successful though. But because we do groups some mornings we any do the two naps. So I might try two naps and see how that works. Tbh I can see she is tired by half ten. Before I was having problems putting her in her cot and she would scream then go to sleep. Now it's just one nap she is so tired there is no creaming and it's a whole hour and a half to two hours which is fantastic but might not b so good for her. I have no clue.
As for her tantrums I tend to ignore the first half and then for the second half give her a cuddle. But it's the tantrums over not reading her b

Cupcakemummy85 Thu 08-Nov-12 22:13:00

(Stupid iPhone lol) .....books and meal times. She would play so well on her own before and now she doesn't really seem to play that much. It's really strange. I wish I could just get someone like super nanny to come in and say "right, do this" lol.
I honestly thought this routine was working and it was the best for her and taking her to groups and outings would b really good fr her and her development but I'm not sure he enjoys it that much. sad

Beamur Thu 08-Nov-12 22:20:12

If you and your DD aren't enjoying going to groups, then don't go. My DD didn't like them either.
It does sound like she is frustrated - her behaviour may well change once she gets more mobile.
I would also let her sleep when she is tired and not prevent napping.
Bear in mind that children understand lots of words long before they speak them, so I'd always explain to DD what we were doing next. Signposting a change or and end to an activity can help reduce the meltdown - but maybe you need to be lining up a different activity and telling her that you're only going to read the book one more time but then we're going to do (insert fun and diverting activity here) so she is less upset by the reading stopping.

MaMattoo Thu 08-Nov-12 22:25:16

You are me from last year dear! DS refused to walk till 19 months. Tantrums came early. Determination is a good word for plain old stubborn. And that's him.
I cry with despair and then get over it. Ignore all people. Get out, take a breather while you can. Talk to RL friends. Try not to compare your lovely child to any other. Not walking and not saying much used to frustrate my 18mo. His walking and talking had made him a radio on speed! But far easier to deal with than before (says when he is asleep)
It will pass! It almost always does.
Love her and also realise no mum is perfect. The fact that you care so much says something!

manitz Thu 08-Nov-12 22:34:40

She's really little so I suppose it depends how many groups you are going to. I take ds2 to 2 groups a week but I'm realising that as he gets older I need to look for some more. Groups (really busy ones) are great for about a years time, I found. At the moment, we are just keeping the place open though one of our groups is musical and brilliant for this age, although he doesn't get much from this one he's getting familiar with it which will help when he starts to get into the activities too.

with the naps, there's a transition stage from 2 to one and it's always hard because they need about one and a half or some days they still need two. it's difficult again for similar reasons when they drop the nap altogether.

My dd2 was a real tantrumer. I knew that as soon as she started misbehaving she was ready to go to sleep. It was really interesting once she started to speak as I used to hear her talking to herself and reminding herself not to lose it. I didn't realise what hard work it was for them to keep a lid on it, once they get tired they can't hold it in. Dd1 wasn't as obvious but ds1 was similar to dd2, you can really tell when he's tired cos he's so annoying. Not sure how ds2 will be....

manitz Thu 08-Nov-12 22:36:21

i mean he's not getting much from the other one which focuses on craft and physical activities...

piglettsmummy Thu 08-Nov-12 22:49:51

At 16months she needs more that just one nap a day, I bet she is exhausted!!! A set routine for naps and bedtime might help settle her down for a bit and mate if she doesn't settle at night time possibly trying control cryin? It does sound like she's trying to push you though! Meal times if she doesn't eat then leave it til next mealtime but by no means let her snack and limit her fluid intake so she's not filling up inbetween! When my daughter had issues like this i tried a gina ford routine, but obviously slightly adapted it to suit us better. She may just need a bit more structure than other children her age, some thrive on it x

JollyJack Thu 08-Nov-12 22:52:12

Ds dropped to one nap at 15mo I think.

I have read that 12mo-18mo is the average age to drop to one nap.

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